July 24, 2012
Vizie Hits the Windy City
Grafitti artist Vizie grew up in Texas and has been tagging since he was 13. He would roll with his friends and go stare at walls for hours, painted on tattoo shops, comic book stores, and skate shops.
When did you first discover your interest in the arts?
I have been more or less doing art my entire life. Both of my parents are artistically inclined people, so they encouraged me to do art early on. Typical story, I always did well in art class and it seemed to be the only thing I picked up naturally and got a positive reaction from. I grew up not paying attention in school, drawing cartoons and comic book characters, and it really never stopped. I just learned to give it more of a focus in my life. I went to a performing and visual art high school and after graduating there I went to Art College. And so on..
Travel, all the places you go to do murals? Where have you gone, which city is your favorite?
I have traveled quite a bit to do artwork. I have been to a bunch of cities in America. I’ve been to Basel Switzerland, Athens Greece, and just recently when to Bangkok and Hong Kong. I’d say that all those cities have their different variables, which make them fun but if id have to go with a recent favorite it was Bangkok.
All the people I met were really cool and supportive and the attitude of the city was so raw and free. Much different than any other place I’ve been to.
The Chicago scene. What’s it like, music, art, etc
Chicago has a vibrant young scene. I am originally from Houston Texas and I lived in Kansas City and grew up traveling in the Midwest quite a bit. Chicago is one of those cities that people are drawn to, sort of a creative epicenter. For lack of a better phrase I’d say it’s like the New York of the Midwest. Flocking from all sorts of nearby states, kids around the age of 18 to 23 are trying themselves out in Chicago. This makes for a breeding ground for young talent in music and art. A lot of creative people establish themselves in Chicago, sometimes it’s a pit stop to places like New York or LA but I feel like the scene in Chicago is where things unfold and people develop into who they will become artistically.
Why that wall location? What is the fun stuff around that area?
The wall is located at Grand and Damen. This area is kind of an in between area that connects the vibrant hip scene of Wicker Park to downtown Chicago. This area is a mix of residential, design studios/art spaces mixed in with some industrial zones too. It is an area with lots of big walls to paint on; a total artist free for all that is rapidly becoming a hot bed for graffiti and street artists to put their work up in. Great dive bars and restaurants are bike-able from this spot. And you are more likely to find some street art sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.
How many hours a day do you spend working on your art?
I’d say I more or less spend all day working on artwork. If not on my own artwork directly I am involved in some sort of artistic job. For work I paint advertisements, billboards and signs. Sometimes I work for other artists on large projects or assisting in the studio. All those things help me branch out technically so I can in turn apply what I learn at work in my own artwork. When I am not doing that I am constantly looking and gathering information. I feel like everything I do in my day has something to do with going back into making things. Being an artist should be a full time job, there should never be a time where you aren’t thinking about how something relates to you visually, thematically or even down to your work ethic.
Who inspires you and how do you keep yourself motivated?
I try to surround my self with creative people. I try to work with artists I find inspiring or frankly just people I think are better than me. If the people around you are constantly pushing the envelope and changing and doing great things it is hard not to want to compete or at least keep up.
What do you think of converse doing all this and investing in music (rubber tracks) and the arts (doing these murals around the US and Europe)?
It can be a tricky thing when you have companies directly getting involved in art making or production. Converse has taken a hands off approach to this, providing the tools or means to get it made but not being involved in the artists creative process. This directly is the difference between supporting and just hiring an artist. Supporting artists gives them a chance to create something they want to share, which makes for something authentic and mutually beneficial. It pushes an artist to create something genuine which shows a genuine interest in creating and developing culture.
Chicago has a vibrant young scene. The wall is located at Grand and Damen. This area is kind of an in between area that connects the vibrant hip scene of Wicker Park to downtown Chicago. This area is a mix of residential, design studios/art spaces mixed in with some industrial zones too. It is an area with lots of big walls to paint on; a total artist free for all that is rapidly becoming a hot bed for graffiti and street artists to put their work up in. Great dive bars and restaurants are bike-able from this spot. And you are more likely to find some street art sprinkled throughout the neighborhood: Chicago, Illinoise